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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Curses to You, Google

Boy, I really didn't want to do this post, but I feel I have to do a Public Service Announcement about recent Google changes. Thursday is the day GFC goes away for non-Blogger blogs.

A lot of people were all "Agh! The apocalypse!". :o)

It's not that big a deal unless you read your blog friends on GFC. I don't. Subscribing by email or using Google Reader is far more efficient for me.

That little tally number is totally bogus anyway. Many times, it's artificially inflated by these blog hops that rally people to follow each other. Or else it's for a contest where you can't win unless you're a follower. 

The truth is, just because someone adds himself to your list doesn't mean he reads you.

I want to be read. Traffic, comments, and those very nice people who tweet and FB my blog posts are my real indicators. (Karma petals to you lovely folks.)

But if you add yourself to my GFC, I will indeed follow you back. I also add ALL my followers to my Reader.

By the way, a word to the wise, for some reason, a few people on GFC don't have active (clickable) blog links, so it's impossible to follow them back. The only SURE way for me to add you is if you leave a comment.

The REAL DEVIL: Anyway, while everyone was getting their panties twisted over GFC, they instead should be more concerned about Google tracking where they browse. If you're on Blogger, YouTube, Gmail, or any other Google service you probably got an email on it.

To stop Google from tracking your whereabouts, go to your Google settings page. It should be at the top right hand corner of Reader, YouTube, Gmail, etc. Or you can go here: (Make sure you're signed into Google before you begin.)

1. Go to accounts settings
2. Scroll down to "Services". It's near the bottom of the page.
3. Under "Services", go to "View, enable, disable web history."
4. Click "Go to Web History."
5. Click on "Remove all Web History".

After you've clicked on it, a message will appear telling you that "Web History is Paused." You can un-pause this at any time. But why would you?

And the Devil's Spawn: What did rile me big-time was when Blogger deleted the check box to subscribe to comments. This is ONLY if your comment box comes up as a pop-up. If the comment box is embedded in your post, the subscriber button is still there.

This chapped my britches because I prefer the pop-up. It lets me see the post and the comment box side by side rather than forcing me to scroll back and forth.

I almost always subscribe to comments unless I'm too zippy and forget to click the box. If you're on Blogger and want people to read follow-up comments, please EMBED your comment box. 

1. Go to "Settings"
2. Go to the tab that says, "Comments"
3. Go to "Comment Form Placement". 
4. Click "

Maybe next week if the world stops throwing curve balls we can talk about more interesting things. I did promise Jenny Schwartz that I would reveal where I get my blog topic ideas, so I imagine that'll show up soon.

I mowed grass the other day and planted some fruit trees. Please don't all be jealous at once. LOL. We have a lot of replanting to do after last year's drought.


What's gnu? What are you working on this week? 

PS  Several unnamed WordPress friends are trying to drive me to their side. The only thing holding me back is the monstrous job of migrating, then updating every site where I appear with the new url. Not to mention reprinting business cards. Is it worth it?


Stacy McKitrick said...

What's gnu? I'm in KY (for tonight) on my way to New Orleans to attend the FF&P Fantasy on the Bayou conference. I'm a happy camper.

I like Blogger. Wordpress takes some work. I'm all about easy!

Angela Brown said...

So my dangerously low computer literacy is causing me to be a little unsure of what is the good/bad with the tracking thing. What would happen to those that don't pause it? Is it similar to cookies that get attached/linked when I do various searches using Google?

What kind of fruit trees did you plant? Your place may be the spot once those darlings ripen.

And I know Raelyn and Shelley are trying to get you to Wordpress. I'd say "NOOOOO!" except Wordpress seems to have things pretty well together. Don't hear much their way about drastic changes here and there and everywhere, though this GFC thing may impact follower numbers a bit. To go to Wordpress would be quite a bit of work. How would you begin to detail out all the places your blog URL appears?

Melissa McClone said...

Okay, I switched my comment section to be embedded. I prefer the pop up myself! Thanks for the directions.

I like blogger. I like that the navbar drives traffic. I like that I know how it works. I don't have time to learn something new!

Mark. K. aka - EvilDM said...

Hello Maria, and thank you for joining me at he hearth - I hope you enjoy your stay :)

Thank you for this post regarding Google; some things here I wasn't even aware of, but will be looking into. I have also noticed how Google Chrome has slowed right down to a crawl, as opposed to when I had it first installed, then it used to be liked greased lightning? Apparently I'm not alone in this experience?

Regrading Wordpress, I also have been tempted to switch, I think the Wordpress set up is far more professional and has some gorgeous looking blog templates. Blogger, on the other hand spoils us with its simplicity, and, as you quite rightly pointed out, it is a daunting process of switching over. I fear I have not the courage to do so.

Informative post, thank you :) - on closing I have to agree with your thoughts on 'followers'. There seems to be a Facebook attitude to 'collecting' as many followers as possible in order to show others how popular your blog is. Fine if you actually interact with those you follow, but sadly this is not the case. I try to post on each blog I follow at least once, usually to introduce myself, and also to gauge the response. Many fall short.

The sad part about the whole business of blogging is, exposure. To get more traffic, more views and more comments, we need more followers. Maybe for every ten blogs you follow you should get at least two active and responsive bloggers. In many ways it's akin to fishing: cast your line often enough and you will get a bite.

Seems to be a necessary evil of the whole blogging scene. Maybe I'm wrong?

Mike Keyton said...

Ref Word Press - ditto the quiet life. Anyway, in my experience what usually happens is you change and find the grass that was once greener demands intensive use of fertiliser. Who knows what Word Press will do in the future.

Ref the privacy - it's an algorithim checking me out - which doesn't bother me over much. In any case, as a writer, I do so much research on so many diverse topics, I doubt any algorithm would work out any clear pattern.

And bottom line. Who gives a shit? Hmm, an inadvertant bottom joke. Sorry

Marianne Arkins said...

Have a friend who's letting me play with her shiny new Word Press site. I paid someone to install it on my hosting service, because I couldn't even manage that much, which doesn't bode well since I'm pretty tech saavy (I thought). In any case, I'm going to play around on it and see what I think. If I like it, I'm moving EVERYTHING. Personal blog, and all our LASR blogs (we have 12) and our Goddess Fish blogs (we have four). Because besides what you've mentioned, Blogger also has a nasty habit of returning scheduled posts to draft and I'm not in love with their formatting. AND, I *hate* New Blogger (which I imagine they'll force us all onto eventually).

Whoa ... that was a little "ranty". But yeah, I'm fed up.

Dru said...

Thanks for the heads-up.

Why are all the social media sites on this bent to change things?

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: A gnu is a wildebeest, but the word is pronounced "new" which is why I thought I'd be clever and use instead. :)

New Orleans! Wow! Have a good time. I've never been to that one.

Angela: I don't think it would be earth-shattering if you left the tracking on, but I am getting sick and tired of these companies knowing my business. Besides, how do we know it's really turned off? It could be nothing more than a placebo.

Ref: trees
I planted an apricot, one peach, and two plums. If we have another drought like last year, I might try to cover them with a shade cloth for a few hours a day--at least while they're short.

Ref: url
Oh, man. This is what keeps me up nights. I've got my blog url embedded everywhere. At my publishers' web sites, my books, every forum I belong to--not to mention that old posts will link to it on search engines. It's a tangled web.

Maria Zannini said...

Melissa: I much prefer Blogger's simplicity. I don't want to learn anything new. My brain is full. If I change, I'm going to have to borrow someone else's brain.

Mark: Have you updated your browser recently? I notice I start to slow down whenever I'm stubborn and don't upgrade to the new version right away.

Ref: followers
It's very 'high school', but lots of people like it. This was the main reason I avoided Live Journal (may it rest in peace).

In the beginning, I didn't even know I had a GFC. It just appeared with a few avatars on it. Then I found out that was some people read their daily blogs.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I suppose it's not a big deal to the users if we're not doing anything nefarious with it. But it's this whole harvesting of information that grates on me. Allegedly, they're harvesting the info to better direct the right advertisers to your eyes. But I don't like it. It's opening Pandora's box.

Marianne: LASR is such a big business, I think WP makes for a much better vehicle. It's getting people to switch to the new url though. I know in recent months there have been at least a dozen people I follow who switched. But after scanning their last few posts, I decided not to follow them to their new digs.

Rest assured, I'll be picking your brain should I switch to WP though. :)

Dru: You've asked a very important question. I feel it has to do with Google trying to reignite a fire for Google+. Much like Apple and Amazon, they close ranks so that users are forced (because it's easier)to use their family of services and products.

It'll line out. It always does.

Marian Perera said...

Man, it's been years since I ate a fruit off a tree, as opposed to a fruit in a clear plastic bag or a clear plastic box. What can I say, I'm hopelessly citybound.

This week I indulge in the joys of querying a manuscript. Though I'm not as bothered by rejection as I was in the past, because now I think that if everyone hates it, self-publishing is always an option.

Julie said...

Thanks for the info about disabling the web history. I've been very annoyed about the changes and will do this at once. I hate the feeling of being tracked and followed.

You made me laugh about mowing the grass. That sounds more interesting than anything I've been doing lately, I seem to get lazier every day. :D

Angelina Rain said...

I personally don't like WordPress. I followed a few blogs that switched, but then I couldn't figure out how to follow a WP blog and so I forgot all about those lovely people who use WP. I tend to check out the blogs of some of my fellow authors and it seems like the ones that have WP blogs have less readers/commenters on their blogs. I wonder if that's because other people couldn't figure out how to follow them too.

Another reason why I don't like WordPress is because all their blogs look the same. They have a few templates, but I'm not a fan of using pre-made, generic templates. I like to make my own. Blogger allows me to make my own and have fun with it, that is why I love my blog, I love the sexy couple on the side and design and all. With WP, my blog would have to be generic and boring. So yeah, I'm not a big fan of them.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Maria. Thanks for the info about how to erase the web history. I switched to WordPress a while back, but I connect to it through Blogger so I can follow my Blogger friends. Never use the GFC. As you say, some of them don't link to the site anyway. I follow through Google Reader too.

Comment to Angelina above: I personally like the crisp look of a WordPress blog. And I set it up to connect with my Blogger account so blotspot bloggers could easily follow me. (I like WP too because I was wasting so much time, though having fun changing my blogspot template! Now I'm "stable" on WordPress and get more writing and blogging done!! :o)

Excellent post, Maria. And thanks for stopping by my guest post today at L'Aussie's place. You say you're like me: pre-computer. Do you want to tell me how old you are!? (lots of smiles)
Ann Best, Memoir Author of In the Mirror & Imprisoned

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I've become very philosophical about rejections. I think in most cases (as long as the writing is decent) it's more likely the publisher doesn't see the story making enough money for them. That's not to say it can't make money for you.

Julie: The whole world seems to keep tabs on us, all in an effort to sell more stuff to us. I'm just tired of it.

Angelina: I've seen a few WP blogs that were nicely laid out. I'm sure it's like Blogger in that you can design your own if you like. The one thing I disliked about WP commenting is that I have to sign in every time to receive follow up comments. Since I read so many blogs, it's more clicks than I want to make. On the other hand, I can't recall the last time I saw spam on a WP blog. That might be worth it for that alone.

Ann: Hi Ann and welcome.
Ref: age and computers
Well, let's just say I'm not 70...but I hope to get there one day. :) Computers became relatively mainstream in 1984, but hubby got on the bandwagon long before that, which gave me an edge in transitioning myself. But I think you'll agree that anyone born before 1970 probably had a bit of learning curve with computers unless it's their career.

Jenny Schwartz said...

ENVY!!! Planting fruit trees is such a hopeful thing to do.

I've got nothing on the tech advice...

Yay! we get an insight into your blog ideas -- don't let Tank eat that notebook till we have your post! ;)

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: I finished planting the rest of them today. Totally beat now!

Ref: Tank
LOL. He's not the one I worry about.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Thanks for the tips, Maria. I think I got it. Don't you just love it when they mess around with stuff?!?


Shelley Munro said...

There's nothing better than fresh fruit picked off your own tree.

I'm voting for Wordpress. I find Wordpress much easier to deal with. I hate the stupid catchy thing that most blogspot people have. It takes me ages to get a comment to save.

Kit Courteney said...

Hi Maria,

Great post as ever but now I'm feeling dim.

I thought I was quite techie (I can do HTML and all sorts!) but I don't even know what GFC stands for.

Will work that out PDQ!

Re Word Press - Yuck! I must admit that I don't actually like the look or feel of it. I had a WP blog for a brief time and it didn't feel right. The WP blogs I tried to follow always hacked me off if I'd cleared my cookies etc and I had to fill in all my details if I wanted to comment on each one (unless it's changed now) so if I was short on time I just stopped commenting.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm lazy, therefore I don't like WP!

*hangs head in shame*

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Hoorah I was wondering how to remove my web history from Google. Thank you Maria. Yes I agree that the links to people's blogs can be annoying limited, so I have added your sentence to my blog: The only SURE way for me to comment back is if you leave me a comment. I tried Wordpress and couldn't get on with it as it was so different to blogger. x

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I wish "they" would give me a break so I can catch my breath. If it works, why do they have to keep fixing it?

Shelley: Your site is one of the easiest to navigate. I'm not sure what it is you did, but yours never asks me for ID, verification, nor lengthy comment subscription. I wish all WP models were as clean as yours.

Kit: Check out Shelley's blog above. It's the best I've seen.
Ref: GFC
It stands for Google Friend Connect. It's just another linky tool to show off who follows you. Some people use it to read their blog list.

Madeleine: I've always wondered why some people's links are clickable and some aren't. I had a friend whom I KNOW had a valid blog, yet his link was grayed out (inactive). He messed with it a little and it finally worked, but we have no idea what it was that made it active.

Raelyn Barclay said...

Boo hiss Google. Had to remember to get oldest to opt out of that tracking thing.

Wordpress isn't all that different from Blogger and there is a way to import all your blogs. I actually prefer Wordpress despite the posting problems I sometimes have on Blogger.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Wait. I don't get why it's bad for google to remember where you've been... A lot of times I search for the same thing weeks later, and I'm glad that the link's a different color, so I know I'm in the right place. I just don't get why that's a bad thing.

And yay for planting! I love spring. Except winter just started here. We were feeling pretty gypped that it seemed to skip us this year, so we'll gladly take it now. :)

Clarissa Draper said...

Changes! Yes, it's difficult but I really appreciate you step by step into protecting myself. Thank you.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: WP (to me) just seems like a cleaner format. Not as many glitches. Had it been more user friendly when I first started blogging, I might've gone with it first. But Blogger is just so intuitive. There was no learning curve required.

Peggy: Google isn't remembering 'for' us. :) They're doing it so they can sell (either directly or indirectly) that information to their advertisers. If they know what we like to look at, they can target us more easily. On the surface it appears innocuous, but information is power, and I don't need Google having any more power over me than necessary.

Clarissa: Glad I could help. :)

Nadja Notariani said...

Thanks for the easy instructions. I will be off to delete my web history...
As for the Wordpress move...I'm not sure one site is better than another. I have friends equally dis-satisfied on both ends, as well as friends equally satisfied. You should go if you want to make a point and are able to accept the limitations you'll likely encounter at Wordpress! Good luck deciding, Maria!

Your planting comment has me dreaming of garden planting, the smell of fresh soil, and picking up my new baby chicks in a few weeks! I'm starting my new 'brood' to take over when my girls stop laying. Do you normally get three or four years from your layers?

Maria Zannini said...

Nadja: I have to agree. I'm sure there are pros and cons to each blog format.

Ref: Hens will lay for several years, but they produce less reliably after the second year. I generally like to keep mine three years. Most professional egg companies don't keep their hens more than one year.

I'm excited to hear about your chicks. You must post pictures when they arrive!!

Kaye Manro said...

Honestly, I hear you and feel the same. I've been prodded to switch to wordpress too. But like you, it would just be too hard, too much at this time.

Who does this google stuff? Some geek kid with nothing better to do?